Anushka's blog: Stuffocation

clock Released On 13 October 2022

Anushka's blog: Stuffocation

So, I’m approaching a happy age in my kids’ lives when ‘the time has come to put away childish things’.  This is ages 10 and 11 in my case. Thank goodness. Happy is the day when your house is not overrun with Lego and plastic junk. My son’s only needs seem to be computer game related and my daughter’s phone and clothes related. The process of piecing together Lego sets to sell them, finding people to hand down clothes, books or toys to and clearing out the sentimental possessions is a behemoth task, not to be underestimated! It is also accompanied by the guilt that if we don’t rehouse our ‘stuff’, it will inevitably end up in landfill. It makes you reflect upon how and why we have willingly created this de-clutter workstream for ourselves. How could it have been avoided?

My conclusions so far have been:

  • Dispensing with the need for any greeting cards whatsoever. I love to treasure the sentiment so tend to hoard them. I would sooner people saved their money and all those trees. In my case, a birthday emoji on social media is just as good!;
  • Ending this tradition of plastic party bag toys or at least replace them with a small plant or something utilitarian like stationery;
  • Making better use of the second hand or borrowing economy. I personally love buying from people via Vinted or EBay and saving items from landfill. There are also many apps where you can borrow clothes for occasion wear or there may be a toy library near you where you can borrow toys and, of course, libraries for books and DVDs;

Gen Z are far more laden with eco-anxiety and versed in sustainability, buying clothes second hand via Depop or computer games half price via EBay. I wonder too if the habits of 80s/90s materialism will also fall out of fashion when they have kids?  

Will they look with rueful nostalgia at the kids parties they enjoyed where the whole class was invited and there was a gift from every one of them?

Will the commercially fuelled Christmases when Santa or their parents/family mysteriously provided everything on their Amazon Wishlist also be a distant memory?

Will they instead connect with each other by embracing the second-hand or sharing economy?

Will they know nothing of the shameful subterranean economy we have all endured of trying to take something back to the shop without a receipt or regift some hideous present to someone else?!

I stand as guilty as the next person of whole-heartedly embracing all these over-indulgent traditions and now hope we not only declutter our house in time for Christmas but declutter our minds from all the materialistic commercial traditions which are neither sustainable financially nor environmentally.

Anushka works full time for a professional services firm, is married with two kids aged 9 and 10 and no nanny!

Megan Dyson - 02/11/2022 - 13:52
I've been on a family minimalism journey for about 2 years now and wholeheartedly agree! Reducing the amount of stuff, especially kid's stuff, has changed my home and me (less stress, more time, I could go on). We're also now more intentional, selective consumers. So many benefits as you outline - thanks. 
Anushka Cross - 10/01/2023 - 22:54
Thank you, I love the idea of being an 'intentionally selective consumer'

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